Gov. Tim Walz to hire outside consultant as he looks at breakup of DHS

The embattled department has been the subject of several controversies this year.

Gov. Tim Walz has announced the search for a 3rd-party consultant to examine whether the scandal-hit Department of Human Services needs to be broken up.

The DHS has been the subject of multiple controversies this year, as the Walz administration found several examples of historic missteps and overpayments that has left the department and other providers on the hook for tens of millions of dollars.

This year has also seen the sudden resignation of DHS Commissioner Tony Lourey, and an investigation into its inspector general Carolyn Ham over the handling of child care fraud, though this ultimately led to no discipline being taken.

Nonetheless, the problems uncovered by the Walz administration during the governor's first year's in charge have led to calls for the DHS to be broken up into smaller, more manageable departments.

Gov. Walz's search for an outside consultant is designed to address whether the agency needs to be restructured.

"As Governor, it is my responsibility to ensure that Minnesotans receive the services they need in an efficient, accountable manner," he said.

"As my Administration surfaces issues at the Department of Human Services that have been going on for years, we must dig deeper to find the root of these problems. That is why we need an outside expert to take an independent look at DHS and recommend whether breaking up the agency would improve efficiency, increase accountability, and better serve Minnesotans.”

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

The DHS is now being led by recently appointed commissioner Jodi Harpstead, who revealed her plan for the future of department earlier this month based on observations she's made during her first three months in charge.

"There is nothing more important for the Minnesota Department of Human Services than to be trustworthy for the people of Minnesota – the over 1 million people we support to live in community and all taxpayers,” she said.

"That is why we are taking action to improve that trust while ensuring DHS is helping Minnesotans live better, fuller lives across the state."

Rep. Joe Schomacker (R-Luverne), who is the GOP lead on the House Health and Human Services Finance Division, praised the decision to seek outside help, but called for the DHS to be reduced in size as well as broken up.

"We are encouraged that Gov. Walz is seeking outside expertise to evaluate the best path forward for DHS," he said. "We also hope the governor will follow-through on his support for an audit of all DHS spending.

"Any breakup or restructuring of DHS must streamline the overall size of DHS programs, rather than adding layers at new, smaller agencies so we can improve accountability and control costs for taxpayers."

Next Up

Image from iOS (19)

Mask-wearing, distancing a common sight on MOA's Black Friday

Thousands of shoppers were out and about on Black Friday despite the COVID-19 situation.

Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz, MDH react to record-setting COVID-19 deaths

Minnesota can expect further bad news over the coming weeks.

covid-19, coronavirus

Record 101 COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota

The figures are from Wednesday, with no update provided on Thanksgiving.

Screen Shot 2020-11-27 at 9.29.12 AM

Target reveals its 'Cyber Week' online deals

The sales will run from Nov. 29 to Dec. 5.

Minneapolis police

Mayor Frey, Minneapolis police chief reveal new 'no-knock' policy

The new policy for Minneapolis Police Department was announced Wednesday.

Teddy Bridgewater

Coller: It's a what-if Sunday with Teddy Bridgewater's return

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

Ambulance hospital emergency

15-month-old girl's death being investigated by police in Fargo

The child died four days after being found unresponsive.

PD Shimmers closeup

Man with Parkinson's lights up Plymouth with synchronized light show

"The best medicine I have for my disease is what I try to do with the light show," Mike Justak said.

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 7.34.43 AM

Watch: Drunk squirrel in Minnesota captures the world's attention

The squirrel was immediately cut off after nearly tipping over.


Screen Shot 2019-08-12 at 9.58.10 AM

Gov. Tim Walz appoints new DHS commissioner

Former commissioner Tony Lourey resigned last month.

What is in Gov. Tim Walz's first budget proposal?

It provides a huge boost to education funding,

Gov. Tim Walz announces new clean car standards for Minnesota

The move puts the governor on collision course with the Trump White House.

Gov. Tim Walz to continue appeal to block Enbridge oil pipeline

The appeal was originally launched by the Dayton administration.

Screen Shot 2019-12-02 at 12.38.51 PM

Coronavirus: Gov. Tim Walz to hold news conference Friday

He will be joined by, among others, his homeland security director.

Governor Tim Walz

Gov. Walz to give State of the State Address on Sunday

It has been delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Gov. Tim Walz's tax plan would hit the poor more than the rich

The analysis come from the state's Department of Revenue.

Governor Tim Walz

Gov. Walz deploys National Guard amid further unrest in Minneapolis

The Minnesota State Patrol has also been sent to downtown Minneapolis.